After 48 hours of rain earlier this week: BOOM, it’s mushroom time. I’ve been cataloging mushrooms in our yard for several years (2018, 2020, 2021, 2021) and I am constantly amazed by the number and variety that appear. Most come up under a small grove of oaks along our driveway, but a few show up in the lawn, or in piles of mulch.
Mushrooms are the fruiting body of a much larger network of underground thread-like filaments called mycelium. This network is either breaking down and recycling dead stuff, feeding on weakened organisms, or contributing to growth of plants in exchange for carbon. Nearly 90 percent of all plants have a symbiotic fungal root partner!
Identifying mushrooms is a bear. There are several thousand species in northeastern North America, with lots of look-alikes. Sometimes it takes a microscope to make a positive ID. So mostly, I just paint them and take notes.
My desk is a wreck. There are trays of mushrooms both whole and cut open, spore prints, magnifiers, rulers, field guides, paints, and brushes. But now that I’ve started, I can’t stop. And there are more coming up every day, with more rain in the forecast. Look around where you live and a take a closer look at the mushrooms that come up there. See how many different ones you can find. But beware: you may soon get hooked too!
Coming up! I’ve got both online and in person workshops this month…check the workshops page for details.